Policeman cleared of racial assault after dog bites traveller

PC Birch's police dog bit Andrew Cash

Friday, August 2, 2019

A police officer accused of a racially aggravated attack after footage emerged of his service dog biting a member of the traveller community, has been cleared.

Police Constable Paul Birch had allegedly called colleagues to say "there are some gypos down here, we need back-up,” before his dog bit Andrew Cash while on duty on September 4, 2017.

The 50-year-old West Midlands Police officer denied the charge of unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm and was found not guilty after a three-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the decision followed a successful application by PC Birch's barrister that there was insufficient evidence and no case to answer.

The incident, footage of which was posted online, happened when PC Birch and other officers attended reports of roof tiles being stolen at the former North Worcestershire Golf Course.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the moment Mr Cash was bitten and heard he was taken to hospital.

While PC Birch was found not guilty, the IOPC said he may still face disciplinary action from West Midlands Police.

An IOPC spokesman said: "On completion of our investigation in May 2018 we sent a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised the charge last October.

"We concluded that PC Birch had a case to answer for gross misconduct for excessive use of force.

"We await confirmation from West Midlands Police as to how they will proceed with the disciplinary matters."

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